In case you missed it, Google has announced that they will be releasing their own social networking site. The project, which is called Google+, is currently available on an invitation-only basis and is not yet available to the public. Still, many people have been able to try it and are saying Google+ could be a very useful tool in education.
A Wired Campus article by Jeff Young highlights the following key features on Google+, which may be beneficial to both students and faculty:
- Google+ allows “selective sharing”, meaning that users can choose which circles of friends they would like to share specific content with. This feature could come in handy when professors would like to add their students as friends, but are concerned with respecting their privacy or personal lives.
- Friend circles could also work as small group communication, possibly for class projects.
- Google+ “hangouts” (casual video conferencing) can be used in place of office hours or face-to-face tutoring.
- One assistant professor at UT Dallas even predicts that Google+ may be an alternative to the traditional LMS.
It’s hard to tell exactly what Google+ has in store for education. Since the social networking site is still in the developing stages, it may take some time before it’s widely used in the classroom. The site is expected to be released for public use on or before July 31st, 2011.